Wayne Goddard Custom-Built Folding Knife
By Chuck Hawks
My personal interest in knives is primarily as working tools for daily pocket carry or for use in the field. The knife that is the subject of this article is a utility pocketknife (Goddard knife #77) with a single locking blade 2-3/8" long. Its length overall is about 3-1/4" folded and 5-5/8" open. Knife maker Wayne Goddard of Eugene, Oregon made it for me, long before he became famous.
The blade is made from 1/10" thick steel stock with a straight back design and a moderate curve to the cutting edge. The blade is made of carbon steel and it is considerably worn down from heavy use and repeated sharpening, but still tight. The handle is brown micarta, the liners stainless steel, and the pins are brass except for the main pin that retains the blade, which is stainless steel. There is a small, brass lined hole for a lanyard in the end of the grip. There are no bolsters or decorations of any kind.
As I said, it is a working knife. You can use this knife to slice open boxes and packages (and I have used it to open thousands), clean a trout, or in a pinch field dress a deer; it has done all of those things.
These days folding, lock blade knives of that general size and type are common and are offered by all of the big knife manufacturers. I personally own factory produced Gerber, Buck and Spyderco approximate equivalents. But at the time (around 1973) that I collaborated with Wayne on the design of what became knife #77, there were no factory made knives of the sort available (at least that I knew of). The most popular, and one of the very few, single lock-blade folding knives was the huge 4" Buck Hunter Model 110 and folding hunting knives of that type are too large for comfortable pocket carry, at least by me.
Wayne subsequently become an American Bladesmith Society Master Bladesmith, has written three books on the subject of knives and knife making and writes a very popular monthly column for Blade magazine. These days he mostly makes display knives for collectors and competition knives.
Wayne has also designed a folding knife for limited production by Spyderco. The most recent version of Wayne's Spyderco design is a burgundy handled folder with a 3-5/8" blade of VG-10 stainless steel. This knife is also reviewed on the Outdoor Accessories Page of Guns and Shooting Online.
At this writing, Number 77 has served from 1973 until the present (35 years) with its original blade. Last year I intended to have Wayne replace the original blade with a modern stainless steel version, but then I decided that #77 will last me the rest of my life as is, so what would be the point? It cost me around $45 back in 1973, but in 2008 it would probably run more like $225. That's a lot of money for a utility knife, but then again, I've gotten an awful lot of service from it! If you are interested in ordering a Wayne Goddard custom built knife you can e-mail Wayne at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2007, 2008 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.